Issued on 6 June 2012

Dry conditions return to southwest WA

3-month rainfall deficiencies

Conditions were drier than average across most of southern Australia in April and May 2012. Drier than normal late autumn-early winters have been experienced across southwest and southeast Australia for more than a decade.

As a result of recent dry conditions and a very dry March:

  • Severe rainfall deficiencies have emerged across southwestern and southern and central interior districts of Western Australia for the 3-month autumn period (March to May 2012).
  • Southwest Western Australia recorded its 7th driest autumn on record, while May was the 5th driest on record for Western Australia as a whole.

Heavy rain in parts of southern coastal WA at the start of June only had a minor impact on the areas of severe deficiencies.

Long-term rainfall deficiencies are also evident in southwest Western Australia. The southwest region had its driest year on record in 2010, and the two-year period of 2010 to 2011 was the driest on record in some parts of southwest Western Australia.

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Definitions

Lowest on record - lowest in the historical analysis, which runs from 1900.
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals.
Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%.

Very much below average - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals.
Below average - rainfalls in the lowest 30% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 10%.
Average - rainfalls in the middle 40% of historical totals.
Above average - rainfalls in the highest 30% of historical totals, but not in the highest 10%.
Very much above average - rainfalls in the highest 10% of historical totals.

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